Jimmy Carter photo

Meeting With Small Business Leaders Remarks at the Meeting.

March 21, 1980

THE PRESIDENT. To open the meeting I'll call on Walt Stults to make a statement, and I'll respond when you tell me to. [Laughter]

WALTER STULTS. Thank you, Mr. President.

Small business supports your program to control inflation. The men and women in this room this morning are the leaders of America's 10 million small business firms. As chairman of the Coalition of Small and Independent Business Associations, Mr. President, I have been asked to tell you that even though several of the actions proposed in your program will force small business to tighten its belt, we are willing to make those sacrifices for the common good.

As you know, high interest rates and tight money have driven many smaller firms to the wall. Historically that's a fact, and today the survival of many such businesses is very much in doubt. For all of these reasons we say that for the administration and for the Congress to do nothing to meet today's emergency is the worst possible solution to the devastation of inflation.

Small business has always been at the forefront of the struggle to obtain a balanced Federal budget. For that reason we applaud your adjustments, and we shall work with the Congress to make certain that the budget remains in balance through spending cuts alone, with no more taxes.

Mr. President, we urge all other segments of the American population to bite the bullet and to assume their fair share of the sacrifice, which is inevitably involved in restoring stability to our economy. As you know, without that stability, longer range efforts to remedy the situation cannot begin.

Mr. President, I'd like to call on Bill Anderson.

WILLIAM ANDERSON. 1 Mr. President, we certainly appreciate the opportunity that you gave small business leaders to help participate in the formulation of your anti-inflation program. We particularly note the courage in rejecting the simplistic panaceas such as mandatory price and wage controls and the Federal pricing controls over oil and gas. Experience has shown these quick fixes do not work and only worsen the underlying economic problems.

1 Cochairman of the coalition.

Furthermore, small business has always come out on the short end of the stick when the Government has attempted to make all the big and little decisions in our complex economic system. And personally, as a small manufacturer from the State of Rhode Island, I read the Wall Street Journal of March 17, commenting on your proposals, and I felt just a little on the side of not so good. Big business and many people who are endorsing radical changes don't realize that often in a radical surgery the surgery's successful but the patient dies, and the patient in most cases is small business.

So, we in the small business community applaud you in that we feel that you're sounding more like Jimmy Carter, the candidate of 1960 .and the small businessman, than ever before. So, thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much. Well, as a small businessman, as a candidate, and as President I have espoused the basic programs that have been so attractive to the small business leaders of this country. Ten million business people play an integral role not only in giving me advice and support, which I need and which our Nation needs, but also in guiding other segments of the economy to support our anti-inflation program. It's not been an easy one to put forward. To cut billions and billions and billions of dollars out of a budget that's already been proposed is a difficult task. But in addition to consulting with all of you, even since the announcement last Friday, we have met with more than a thousand leaders in 35 or 40 organizations to tell them about the consequences of action which will be constructive and the adverse consequences of a lack of action.

We are very closely working with the congressional leadership, not only with the top leadership that helped us evolve the problem [program] 2 at first but also with the House Budget Committee, whose recommendations very closely parallel our own. They had a good vote yesterday, and I think it bodes well for the seriousness with which the Congress will address this issue.

2 White House correction.

I want to express my thanks to you again for this action and also my admiration for your courage. I hope that you will deal with all your peers, those who look to you for leadership, with your customers, and with the big business community, which in general is supportive of what we are attempting to do. The breadth of the recommendations is very constructive, not just the balanced budget but also to control energy imports, to work on stringent wage and price restraints on a voluntary basis, to cut down on Government regulation, which is a very serious burden for small businesses to carry, and also, by the way, which is highly inflationary. And in addition to that, the credit restraints are being modified as much as possible to encourage productive investment loans for small businesses, farmers, those who are buying homes and automobiles, and away from the speculative type loans which compete with you and your needs in an already tight credit market.

So, I think the whole program, with your help and advice, has been compatible with your basic philosophy and your longstanding advice to me, and I'm very glad to have you as partners in a program which I believe will be good for our country. Again, thank you. You have my admiration for what you've done.

Note: The President spoke at 9:56 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

Jimmy Carter, Meeting With Small Business Leaders Remarks at the Meeting. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250169

Filed Under



Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives